Your content is on fire. You can only save five things, five things you can use to continue to propel learning for your students. What do you save?
This was the question posed to us at Empower17 by Nancy Frey, literacy expert and author of Visible Learning for Literacy. I wish I had heard this question years ago. It is the essence of transfer or Big Ideas in Understanding by Design. It is the seed of backward design with any unit of study. It is a simple, yet complex way, to view instruction, to keep your focus, to not get bogged down in teaching for understanding. It is the key to deep learning.
For years I have been telling teachers that to get to the Big Idea of a unit they may want to consider what it is they want their students to remember 20 years from now, the takeaways they want students to leave with.
Now I have a new lens to see through when it comes to Big Ideas.
It’s also a new lens for me to use when planning professional development. Sometimes I get hung up when planning for a professional development session. Inevitably, I go back to Understanding by Design, as I always do, for guidance. But, there are instances where I can’t prioritize from a long list of what I want teachers to know or be able to do. There is so much, right? Especially when you are passionate about pedagogy or engagement strategies or empowering teachers.
This question is also a lens I can use when observing classrooms or visiting schools. Many times I walk away with a lengthy list of ideas I want to try or programs to implement after a visit. I usually set a goal for myself: what are three things I can bring back? But, by asking myself what I would take from that classroom or school if it was on fire, I believe I can determine the most fundamental components that make that school or classroom what it is, enhancing my takeaway.
So, what do you think? What are the five things you would save?
Comment here or connect with me at @JCrossEdu